Sunday, April 15, 2007

15 Minutes of Parenting

We recently got a list of recommendations for interacting with Jack, one of which was for each parent to spend floor time with Jack at least once a day for 15-20 minutes at a time. This got me thinking. Mostly along the lines of, dear God, I've been spending way more time than I need to with these kids.

When I brought this up to Alex, his response was that he thinks I/we probably spend more time actually playing and interacting with our kids than the majority of parents out there. I'm not sure if I agree with him, but it did make one thing suddenly clear: Maybe that's why I want to murder them all the time. Clearly I should be spending far more time ignoring them and their annoying--I mean lovable--ways.

But seriously. I've always been curious how other stay at home moms spend their time. But no one ever really tells you. I don't know if it's because we're insecure about what we're doing, or feel guilty if we take too much time for ourselves during the day. Or maybe we just can't describe in words what can change from one day to the next.

As a new mom I felt like I should be spending most of Sam's waking hours playing with him. I knew that kids need alone time to play and learn by themselves, but I felt I needed to teach and play and show him my face. Which can be really exhausting with a baby that doesn't do anything back. Angelina Jolie was right: Newborn babies are blobs.

I've relaxed a bit since then, but I still spend a lot of time on the floor with the guys. Sometimes I'll be reading a magazine or talking on the phone or otherwise only giving them part of my attention, but I think I do spend a fair amount of time actually playing and reading with them. Being a mother, however, I do still feel guilt that it's not enough.

And maybe it's not.

It would be interesting to check myself to see how much time I actually spend playing with them. There is so much that gets in the way of hanging out with your kids: cleaning, cooking, work, their school, playdates where they play with other kids, and their own alone time. And these are all important things. Then there are the less important things: TV, computer games, etc... When you boil right down to it, 15-20 minutes of good, solid, quality floor time with each child can be a luxury we don't get everyday.

I do know this: My kids are worth 20 minutes of my time each day. They are worth more than that. And I'm going to double my efforts to give them that and more.


  1. I hear you! I'm reading a new book right now called "Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box" that is all about cutting ourselves some slack. She talks about OVERperfect parenting, among other things, and I realize that perhaps it's my unrealistic goals stressing me out all the time...

    ... such as the Mommy Guilt I'm feeling for blogging right now even though I'm both nursing my infant to sleep and talking to my toddler as he plays....

    So, I mean, I hear ya!

  2. P.S. I've also recently begun reading *near* my children when I can.... I realized only recently that it's been a while since they've seen me pick up an actual book while they're awake and with me. Probably a very good idea to model what we want them to learn, eh? And also, to get some good ol' reading time for myself? At least, I'm hoping that's appropriate....


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